Brett Kimmorley cops fresh blow after 'disrespectful' furore

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Seen here, interim Wests Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley speaking at a press conference.
Interim Wests Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of his side's clash with the Cowboys. Pic: Getty

Interim Wests Tigers coach Brett Kimmorley has been dealt a fresh setback just days after criticising a "disrespectful" move from the Penrith Panthers.

Kimmorley will miss Sunday's game against the high-flying North Queensland Cowboys after testing positive for Covid-19.

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The news is yet another blow the under-pressure Tigers, who went down in a thriller to an under-strength Panthers outfit in round 18.

Kimmorley called out the Panthers for resting seven State of Origin players in his team's 18-16 loss.

Panthers coach Ivan Cleary opted to rest NSW Origin stars Isaah Yeo, Brian To'o, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin, Api Koroisau, Stephen Crichton and Nathan Cleary, with his side still managing to grab a dramatic late win.

The move sparked backlash from Kimmorley, who said Penrith's decision to rest so many players was a little insulting.

“They are a really good organisation that are entitled to rest their players, but we thought it wasn’t respectful,” Kimmorley said post-match.

“But it got us up, which helped us as well. That is something you have got to use as a coach about how you get your players up.

“We had the chance to win it. The challenge now is to make sure that we don’t fall off the cliff a little bit and compete again next week and we will get that win eventually.”

Kimmorley began a seven-day isolation period after testing positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, meaning he won't travel to Townsville with the team on Saturday morning.

Assistant coaches Nathan Cayless and Ben Gardiner will take charge in his absence.

"We'll be alright. We've got two coaches who we've had all year," said captain James Tamou.

"'Noddy' (Kimmorley) will still lend his voice here and there but the boys know what to do in defence and attack."

Tigers veteran James Tamou set for milestone moment

The clash with the Cowboys will be Tamou's 300th NRL appearance and comes against the side with whom he made his debut and won the 2015 Premiership.

"It's quite fitting. I've come full circle," Tamou said.

Pictured left, Wests Tigers veteran James Tamou is set to play his 300th NRL game in round 19 against the Cowboys.
Wests Tigers veteran James Tamou is set to play his 300th NRL game in round 19 against the Cowboys. Pic: Getty

Only 44 players have reached 300 games and Tamou is only the third active player to do so but the 33-year-old said the emotion of the milestone had not yet hit him.

"You don't really think about these things too much," he said.

"You're in the NRL bubble then these occasions come up: the 100, the 200 and then luckily enough for me, the 300. It's a pretty special occasion."

Kimmorley's diagnosis follows news Manly middle forward Jake Trbojevic will also miss round 19 because of Covid-19

Sea Eagles back-rower Andrew Davey has reportedly also come down with the virus ahead of Friday night's clash with St George Illawarra.

with AAP

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